Set up automatic, consistent direct debits so you’re not penalized for late payments. Work out what you’ll be spending monthly and set aside the appropriate funds so you’re not tempted to borrow more until you’ve paid off your current debt.
3. Build up your FICO score
If you took out a payday loan due to no credit history, after having paid back your loan, you could look into responsibly building your FICO score from scratch. If you’re receiving a consistent income and you’re confident you could make frequent repayments on time, look into taking out a secured credit card. After six to 12 months, you should notice a vast improvement to your credit score.
Budget Fashionista: What are some strategies families — those who don’t have a lot to spare — can use to start saving now for next holiday season?
Michelle: My number one rule is to holiday shop throughout the year. Take advantage of sales that pop up during 2017. That way, when everyone else is stressing during the last quarter of the year, all you have to worry about is putting out your festive decorations!
Also, it could be a good idea to open a savings account just for your holiday spending. Set a target savings goal for year-end, and then make automatic payments each week or month to make it happen.
And consider the necessity of your generosity. Sure, immediate family members probably belong on your ‘to buy for’ list. But don’t feel obligated to give to colleagues, all your extended family members and your entire group of friends. Perhaps initiate a Kris Kringle amongst larger circles instead, with a $5 or $10 cap on gifts. Make a list of those for whom you will be purchasing gifts, set a limit and stick to it! You can monitor your spending with a spreadsheet or even with pen and paper.
Stalk online coupon and discount sites and sign up for alerts so you’ll receive emails of deals as they come in, and don’t forget to browse cashback sites as they’ll reward you a percentage of your spending back after completing your shop at certain stores.
Finally, don’t be afraid to purchase second hand or browse thrift stores and vintage shops. I’ve donated really expensive, worn-once items to thrift stores — there are definitely hidden steals amongst the racks! Make a day of it, take your friends and see who can bag the best bargain!